How to Choose a Paralegal Program near Roswell Georgia
Best Wishes regarding your decision to enroll in a paralegal school near Roswell GA and start your journey that will result in a satisfying career in legal services. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find the best school so that you will get the comprehensive training that you need to succeed. As you probably know, the legal field is among the fastest growing occupations in the United States, and a growing number of educational alternatives are being offered, both at school and online. However with so many alternatives to choose from, where does one start? Some prospective students begin by trying to find paralegal schools within driving range of their Roswell residences. Of those options, they search for the program with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are necessary considerations when choosing a college, they are not the only qualifiers you must take into consideration. Things like the reputation and accreditation of the school ought to be considered also. Later in this article we will cover a list of questions that you must ask prospective paralegal certificate schools so that you can evaluate and compare each one prior to making your decision. But first, let’s have a look at what a paralegal does and the educational choices that are available to earn either a paralegal certificate or degree.
What is a Paralegal and What Do They Do?
Paralegals and legal assistants basically both fill comparable job positions and functions, only with different titles. On the other hand, legal secretaries are not the equivalent of either of those two positions and are part of a separate job classification. Both paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers in Roswell GA with a diverse array of job duties, including maintaining client files, legal research, communicating with clients, and drafting legal documents. Their specific job functions are based upon the type of legal firm where they work. As an example, a legal assistant for a criminal law firm may assist with the logistics of a trial or transferring files to court. In private practices, the work of a paralegal is typically billed by the hour as are the attorney’s. And the same as attorneys, they must conduct themselves with a high level of professionalism and comply with a strict code of professional ethics. As mentioned, their duties can be diverse in support of the practices where they are employed, but some of their regular activities can include:
- Investigating and fact checking cases
- Conducting research on related cases and laws
- Drafting correspondence and legal papers
- Filing legal papers with the court or opposing counsel
- Helping attorneys prepare for trial and keep organized with their cases
- Organizing and preserving legal documents, files and other records
With all of their duties, the job of a Roswell GA paralegal can be complicated and very challenging. On the other hand, what they are not legally allowed to do is give legal advice and counsel or represent a client in a legal action. But paralegals are not restricted to clerical or administrative tasks more applicable to the job of a legal secretary. Paralegals truly are the right hand support systems for attorneys. And since they do so much of the legal preparation and ground work, attorneys have the ability to manage a much larger number of cases or clients than they could alone.
Paralegal Programs and Certification
As we previously covered, paralegals are essentially the same as legal assistants, with paralegals arguably having more professional sounding job titles. In any case, for either position the educational prerequisites and job prospects will be the same. The quickest means to launch your career in Roswell GA as a paralegal is by obtaining a certificate, which can involve as little as 6 months to accomplish. A large number of entry level positions do call for an Associate’s Degree, which provide a more extensive education and can be earned at many community colleges in two years. For an even more extensive education, four year Bachelor’s Degrees are offered also. After you have obtained either a certificate or degree, you might choose to continue and obtain a certification. Even though it is not a mandatory requirement in Georgia to work as a paralegal, certification may not only help maximize your job opportunities, but help establish you as a professional also. Some of the highly regarded certifying agencies in the profession are:
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- American Alliance of Paralegals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Association for Legal Professionals
By graduating with a certificate or degree from an accredited program (we will address the benefits of accreditation later) and earning a certification, you will have taken two important first steps that will help ensure your success as a paralegal in Roswell GA.
Paralegal Online Schools
Paralegal online programs have become more common and may be an excellent alternative for students in Roswell GA searching for convenient access to classes and accommodating scheduling. Online programs can be particularly attractive to individuals who keep working while obtaining a degree. As an additional benefit, online schools can sometimes be less expensive than more traditional options. Even supplementary expenses for such items as study materials or commuting can be reduced or eliminated. One caution, not all online programs are accredited, which we will discuss in more detail later. But at the very least accreditation helps guarantee that the training you obtain is of the highest caliber. So check to make sure that the program and school you are reviewing are accredited by a reputable organization, for example the American Bar Association. But if you are dedicated enough to study in a less supervised and formal setting, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Paralegal Colleges
Now that you have a better understanding regarding what paralegals do and what academic choices are offered, you can begin the process of evaluating Roswell GA area schools. But because there are numerous programs available at community and junior colleges, in addition to vocational and trade schools, you need to learn what questions to ask so that you can evaluate each one. This is especially true when you add all of the online paralegal degree and certificate programs as well. If you are like most potential students, you will begin by looking for schools within commuting distance and then comparing their tuition. But as we have previously discussed, there are other significant factors to research as well, for instance the reputation and accreditation of the schools. So let’s take a look at a few of the questions you should be asking the programs you are considering so that you can thoroughly vet each one and make your final decision.
Is the Paralegal Program and School Accredited? The paralegal school and program that you pick should be accredited by a reputable accrediting agency such as the American Bar Association. If it is an online program, it might also get accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. Accreditation will not only help guarantee that the training you will get will be of the highest quality, but it will show potential employers that you are a qualified professional also. Many Roswell GA law firms will only employ entry level paralegals that have graduated from an accredited school. Also, financial assistance and student loans are usually obtainable only for accredited schools.
What’s the Reputation of the Program? Research what the reputations and rankings are for the Roswell GA paralegal programs you are looking at. This is of specific importance if you are entering the field with no previous work history, since employers will have to make a decision based on the caliber of your training exclusively. Verifying that the school you select is accredited is an excellent first step. Checking school rating reports, including those provided by U.S. News and World Report, can help determine school rankings and quality of education as well. You can also call a few law practices that you may have an interest in working for after graduating and ask which schools they recommend. Remember that even when a school is not the most highly ranked, its paralegal program may still have an excellent reputation.
Does the Program Sponsor Internships? Internship programs provide students a chance to experience working in a law firm or other legal establishment while still in school. They can also provide a means for students to start establishing contacts within the Roswell GA legal community. Ask if the paralegal programs you are evaluating provide internship programs, especially in areas of the law that you have the most interest in entering upon graduation.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the paralegal schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Georgia legal services employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School’s Location? Considering that laws differ among states, it may be advantageous to enroll in a paralegal school located in the state where you want to practice after graduation. Also, it will be important to build relationships in the neighboring legal community, perhaps through an internship program. This is even more reason to acquire your education in the community where you wish to work. Also, if you go to classes at a community college, many charge a higher tuition for students that live outside of their districts. So you may need to initially consider those schools that are within your Roswell GA local area.
What is the Entire Cost? Paralegal programs can vary in price depending on the credential received and the length of training provided. However, tuition will not be the only expenditure for your training. Remember to include the cost of supplies, books and commuting to classes to your budget as well. Financial aid may be accessible to help minimize some of the expense, so be sure to contact the school’s financial aid office to see what is available in Roswell GA. Of course if you choose to attend an online school, a portion these added expenses, for instance for commuting, may be reduced or eliminated.
Do the Class Times Accommodate your Schedule? A number of paralegal students keep working while obtaining their training and need flexibility in class scheduling. If you can solely attend night or weekend classes near Roswell GA, make sure classes are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part time basis, make sure that the program you select offers that option. Last, find out what the protocol is for making-up missed classes because of work, illness or family obligations.
Considering Paralegal School in Roswell GA?
Roswell is a city in north Fulton County, Georgia, United States. In the official 2010 U.S. Census it had a population of 88,346. The 2017 estimated population was 94,786, making Roswell the state's eighth-largest city. A suburb of Atlanta, Roswell has an affluent historic district.
In 1830, while on a trip to northern Georgia, Roswell King passed through the area of what is now Roswell and observed the great potential for building a cotton mill along Vickery Creek. Since the land nearby was also good for plantations, his idea was to put cotton processing near cotton production.
Toward the middle of the 1830s, King returned to build a mill that would soon become the largest in north Georgia – Roswell Mill. He brought with him 36 African slaves from his own coastal plantation, plus another 42 skilled carpenter slaves bought in Savannah to build the mills. The slaves built the mills, infrastructure, houses, mill worker apartments, and supporting buildings for the new town. The Africans brought their unique Geechee culture, language, and religious traditions from the coast to north Georgia.
King invited investors from the coast to join him at the new location. He was also joined by Barrington King, one of his sons, who succeeded his father in the manufacturing company. Archibald Smith was one of the planters who migrated there to establish a new plantation, also bringing enslaved African Americans from the coastal areas.
Enroll in the Ideal Paralegal Program near Roswell GA
Selecting the right paralegal degree program is a crucial first step to guarantee your success in the rewarding field of law. As we have addressed in this article, you have the option of attending classes on-campus or you can participate online in the comfort and privacy of your Roswell residence. Paralegal academic programs are offered in many formats and lengths. Various types of public and private institutions make available paralegal training, including community and junior colleges, four year colleges and universities, in addition to trade and vocational schools. Your choice of a paralegal program will have a pronounced impact on your prospects for success in your new career. Considering that there is a wide range in the quality of schools, pick carefully. Give yourself the greatest possible chance to be successful in this fascinating profession. But regardless of how you elect to acquire your training and earn your certificate or degree, by asking the questions that we have provided you will be able to evaluate each school and make your ultimate decision. And with the ideal training you can accomplish your career goal to become a successful paralegal in Roswell GA.
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